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Grateful Dead Live at McDonough Arena, Georgetown U. on 1970-10-23

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Grateful Dead Live at McDonough Arena, Georgetown U. on 1970-10-23

Topics Live concert

Casey Jones, Mama Tried, Hard To Handle, China Cat Sunflower-> I Know You Rider, Sugar Magnolia, Candyman, Good Lovin'-> Drums-> Good Lovin', Me & My Uncle, Truckin'-> Drums-> The Other One-> Not Fade Away-> Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad-> Not Fade Away, E: Uncle John's Band

Collection GratefulDead
Band/Artist Grateful Dead
Venue McDonough Arena, Georgetown U.
Location Washington, DC

Source Audience
Lineage AUD > Sony TC-124 (MCass) > DAT > DAT > CDR > SHN
Taped by Cary Wolfson
Transferred by David Gans and Cary Wolfson


DAT speed-corrected by David Gans
Various glitches edited out by CW

posted to abgd 11/2002

SBE's on all tracks except d2t03

Cary Wolfson's notes:

My friend Norm Sartorius and I had seen the Dead for the first time at the Fillmore West in April 1970 after driving cross-country in (of course) a VW microbus. This was the run where Miles Davis opened for them. We came back to Baltimore (where I grew up) babbling to friends but we didn't have anything to play for them except Live Dead and, when it first came out, Workingman's Dead. Then we heard that they were coming to Georgetown U. After work on a Friday we loaded up whoever would fit into Norm's VW bus and took off for D.C. The place (a big, very hot gym) was packed when we got there. At the 4-12-70 show I was leaning against the stage (right in front of Pig), so there was no way were going to be in the back bleachers. Besides, I had this new Sony TC-124 tape deck. So we wormed our way up the aisle to the front. They were actually trying to keep a fire aisle open across the front. We bribed the security guy with a hit of mescaline and he let us in. We ended up maybe 15 feet back from the stage. I stood there the whole night with my hand in the air. The New Riders played and Garcia joined them. I taped this, too, but trust me, you don't want to hear it. The sound was awful.

There was a long break, during which people passed water jugs up to the stage and some of the crew would fill them up with water and pass them back -- it was so hot and crowded. Finally, they got everything set up. The announcer says, "Once again, the Grateful Dead," which led one writer to speculate that maybe there was more to this show, but he was just referring to the Riders set with Jerry. It's a short show, but Wow! BTW, the guy making the most noise on the tape is NOT me, but this goofy guy who'd been on the California trip with us. Still, you can hear me say at one point, sarcastically, "You think they've got it on tonight?" and this guy respond, equally jokingly, "Maybe half-lit." Hey, we were all well-dosed and enjoying a Grateful Dead concert the way it was supposed to be.

As far as taping went, I really didn't know what the hell I was doing. This was way before Maxell XL-IIs came in vogue and I was using one no-name "assembled in Mexico" cassette and one Mallory Duratape (taping over the first Hot Tuna album). The TC-124 didn't have a pause button and, like other tapers of that era, I hit the stop button a lot between songs to save tape. In spite of that, this still sounds pretty damn good, even 32 years later. Supposedly there was a radio broadcast, but no copy of it has ever materialized.


Reviewer: chris phillips - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 27, 2014
Subject: Mr. G
This is an excellent audience recording for 1970.
This is the best period for Grateful Dead.
China Rider and UJB will make your day.
Good Lovin' and Candyman are very solid.
Reviewer: doug_the_dude - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 6, 2013
Subject: --
If you're familiar with 1970 auds, this one is up there with some of the better of them. Only Candyman really suffers quality-wise, due a dropped mic, loud voices, and a cut ending. Everything else sounds rather well - don't listen to any naysayers.

As far as the show's concerned, Good Lovin', the Other One, and Hard to Handle really do lead the charge - it's a fine performance. Who knows, maybe more will emerge one day.

Check out the NRPS set as well, if you're curious:
Reviewer: Evan S. Hunt - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 24, 2009
Subject: Great.
Ignore the recording sound quality. Let it play. It's great. Every note is great, even the rare wrong note is great.

Thank you all involved
Reviewer: srednivashtar - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 27, 2008
Subject: first dead concert for me
Thumbed up to DC from Charlottesville. Couldn't interest anyone else in coming. Last ride was in a van carrying Pigpens's organ- right to the gym. NRPS was fabulous. I think Garcia played six hours between the two bands. Guy in front of me was rolling joints and passing them back.
Reviewer: SpaceAgeBeatnik - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 24, 2008
Subject: Live and Dead In 1970

I was there. My first Show. The Band insisted that the house lights be turned on--so they could see the crowd and communicate directly. The play list was great, the energy high, the whole house stood up and boogied to the Encore--Uncle John's Band.

I was never quite the same again...

The memory of all the above plus the new Riders opening and Pigpen's very energized singing still make me shiver...
Reviewer: mcgannahan - favoritefavoritefavorite - March 21, 2008
Subject: this aint too bad
we're lucky the shows from this era were recorded at all. so, it is what it is, and it may not be the crispy recordings you are used to hearing, but all in all, this one's worth having. show is average by 70 standards, the recording is a tiny bit below average, compared to others of this time period. your ears will adapt, and you'll start to tap your toes at some point, and enjoy it.
Reviewer: aegert - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 11, 2008
Subject: OK Get a grip
This is about as good as auds get from this period... I can't speak for the Gans Dat version as I do not have it here to compare but the master 24/96 transfer is amazing... Period... I don't know how people listen or if they listen to lossy or lossless.. I have cranked this in 24 bit on a reference mastering grade sound system and it is killer... It is an aud but an amazing document!

Cary thanks so much for sending the tapes and braving the day...

Where I come from if you don't have anything nice to say ... Don't say it or if you want to be productive be constructive not destructive ... With 6000 some od dl's it has to be OK ROFL...

SO if it doesn't sound good first make sure you have a system to play on that is good! Not computer speakers and then listen lossless and lastly take cotton out of ears...

A :-)
Reviewer: craven714 - - October 23, 2007
Subject: thanx
Thank you Cary and David and the Grateful Dead
Reviewer: Da Red Rooster - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 13, 2007
Subject: From someone who knows this recording intimately
There hasn't been a comment here in a nearly a year, so I'm probably just pissing in the wind, but for the small handful who thought the recording sucked there is now a remastered version by the MOTB crew. It fixes some balance issues, nicely smooths over some of the more egregious breaks, etc. Search around and you should be able to find it. It's likely still alive at

The whiners here obviously were not around in the early '70s when most of what we were able to trade for were multi-generational copies of dogshit originals. Digital access has really spoiled us, some clearly more than others. I wouldn't call this an A+ recording by any means, but it is certainly in the upper percentile range of audience recordings from this era. And I would raher hear this, with all its flaws, than 90% of the more polished recordings from the '80s.

I've listened to this show well over 100 times and hear musical things in it that I don't find in any other GD shows. Of course I'm biased, since I made the original recording. In spite of stifling heat, the energy in the room was just crackling and I think that comes across in the recording.

Someone said that this was an acoustic Dead-NRPS-electric Dead show. Not so, unless I was WAY more wasted than I thought. It started with the NRPS + Jerry set.

Reviewer: Stargazin - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 27, 2006
Subject: well, sounds good to me!
This is an above-average audience recording for 1970. We are lucky to even get to hear any of this music. I'm grateful that I got to download so many of the soundboards when we could. Any soundboards I missed, I can stream and listen to, or trade for if I want the cds for my car stereo. Anyway there isn't much to listen to from this Fall 1970 college tour so I'm glad to see this audience recording, which is of better clarity than the September shows... but no 1970 audience tops 6-24 for quality and sheer excitement. Enjoy the music, that's why you're here!!!
Reviewer: I Miss the pre-In the Dark era!! - favoritefavorite - July 21, 2006
Subject: Chill People
Hey man just because a ghuy wruites a negative review doesn't mean he is a dick and should be bashed. lets be real, this is a very lame recording. Do we appreciate the efofrts of Gans and the tapoer? Absolutely. Is it a worthwhile document? Sure. But at the same time the quality does in fact suck, this is not worth the download to most of us long time Heads. So deal with that. Please. This website has really gone downhill I can see. Foirst the boys sell out and talke the boards off, and it also seems like more and more kids are logging in - and bashing people for being negative. negatoive is good! How else do we improve!
Reviewer: jerseydead - favoritefavoritefavorite - June 8, 2006
Subject: nice!
for an aud recording this is very good quality.
the show itself is just ok, but if your deadicated, its worth the download.
Reviewer: schnack - favoritefavoritefavorite - May 2, 2006
Subject: Everyone download this show!!!!!
Reviewer: gruUbic - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 5, 2006
Subject: Hoya Saxa 10/23/1970
Guys, remember, this is an ARCHIVE - no one said all the tapes are mint.

McDonnough's STILL there...and Folk from DC/ North VA STILL talk about this one as a real moment of bending Xperience.

Before you knock it, at least thank los senores Wolfson y Gans for taking time and $$ to record/ remaster this show for all of us to share...on our GD computers -- sitting on out GD buttkuses -- in the lazy haze of GD 2006.

Respect, gentlemen -- and many thanks.
Reviewer: dcc292 - favoritefavoritefavorite - March 6, 2006
Subject: Fine Show
This is a pretty charged performance despite some miscues and stumbles. Casey Jones is particularly good with the drummers kicking in the polyrhythms toward the end.
Reviewer: familiarfan - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 17, 2006
Subject: ----------------------------------------
Jtho116 go get your little wine cooler, curl up on your heart shaped pillows, put your record of Richard Simmons performing all your favorites on, and remember that you have to get over being a fag.
Anyway, the show's sound quality is (I'll admit not sharp, but) not bad. The playing is tighter than previously discussed by the hermephrodite.

And you said that on little Jesus' birthday!
You monster

A note to the nice people of this site(and I'm not being sarcastic) I would appreciate being allowed to comment in the future but this creep wanted a reaction, so there it be.

And another thing, if you were soo hoping this performance was up to your liking and gave two shits for Jerry Garcia you wouldnt've used your harshness seeing that his mother died from internal injuries from a car accident extremely close to this show's date.

You know it's like this Hard to Handle or I'd like to buy the world a home.
There's no comparison.
Reviewer: fleischman - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 15, 2006
Subject: Thuroughly enjoyed it!!!
I my be crazy, but there is something to be said about "npn-ideal" audience recordings of old shows. Although the sound may wobble, crackle at times, and obscure finer details of the musics quality, the raw energy, drive, and emotion produced by the Dead still emminates through all opinionated problems. In fact isn't this what drives all of us to possess numerous tapes of different shows with different combinations of the same songs. This show has now becomeone of my favorites, the "poor-quality" simply adds to its mistique.
Reviewer: jtho116 - favorite - December 25, 2005
Subject: GARBAGE
this is a really horrible recording. and that's so disappointing to me, because it's such a great set list. now i'm not a dead head. so i can't sit through a 40 year old crappy recording from some stoners tape deck. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD ANYONE EVER DOWNLOAD THIS. EVER. unless you're a massive man and can sit through the horrible sound.
Reviewer: Street Pig - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 4, 2005
Subject: Great AUD!
Boot this NOW, great performance and a fabulous recording (read tapers notes), all tunes are well performed and the crowd is right with the band who are obviously "on"DL!
Reviewer: skuhn2 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 11, 2005
Subject: Sick Aud Tape
This is an epic audience tape from a sick show.
This period is way under represented.
Thank you David and anyone else involved in getting this out here.
Reviewer: huffman - favoritefavorite - January 3, 2005
Subject: Hissy High Gen Source
Maybe I am just too new at this sight, but this is far from a 5 star recording. I know it's an old show and all, but I've heard many older better recordings. I appreciate access to all shows but at least let the downloader know they're getting crap.
Reviewer: Geeospear - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 19, 2004
Subject: Classic
show for sure. The energy there was high. The music is super cartoony on this particular night. Sugar Magnolia is especially cartoony. Love it! They were hot and jacked up on something tonight .... Download it!
Reviewer: Jack Straw from Carolina - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 23, 2004
Subject: Missed It
I had tickets but couldn't get in. Have had a multiple generation of the same sounding audience tape for years - a great show. Lots of good playing, classic versions of songs like Good Lovin, Casey Jones, Hard to Handle. But where, oh, where, is a soundboard of it??
Reviewer: rocko - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 8, 2004
Subject: rockin' a hot gym
this was my first show and i remember it well. not mentioned in the compendium is that it was one of the acoustic dead, nrps, electric dead shows of that era. this is the electric set. there are some sensational moments, jerry kicks butt and the recording is pretty good for aud, meaning you can hear the bass and the balance is good. the late set jamming stands out particularly the other one jam. thank you to the archive and the dead for making all this possible. it really is a miracle.
In Collection
Grateful Dead
In Collection
Live Music Archive
Uploaded by
Jonathan Aizen
on 5/31/2004
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